Today was a theatre day, and thank fucking Christ, because yesterday made me want to gargle chicken bones. Yesterday, of course, being my first Wednesday sans acting class at the OSSD, and it turns out that my days off without that spot of relief are akin to taking a long cruise on the SS Nails-On-Chalkboard. Lucky thing I had that bottle of wine, and those FLYING NUN dvd’s, or I wouldn’t have made it through to today.
And today was a blast! After the usual time-wasting, I trundled out to the Carleton Tavern for a drink and some dinner…by the by, their pizza is a thing of beauty. I was there as tonite’s production of MECHANICSVILLE MONOLOGUES II was getting set up, and the terribly dee-liteful Kelly Rigole stopped over to say hello…we chatted about the show, her acceptance into next year’s Ottawa Fringe (yay!), even this silly old chud you’re perusing right now. Afterwards, Lisa Zanyk and Donnie Laflamme from the show gave me some well wishes to boot, and they’re both mighty fine folk, I can happily say. Quite frankly, I left the tavern feeling like a bit of a big shot, which isn’t really how I USUALLY leave bars, so this was getting things off on the right foot.
Made it down to the good old School of Speech and Drama, not for class this time, but for the Ottawa Theatre School‘s production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, or WHAT YOU WILL. Directed by I’s Andy Massingham, starring the grads of the OTS and some special guest-stars, it promised to be a fun show. Spotted Ken ‘the God’ Godmere and John ‘Killer’ Koensgen in the crowd, and even managed to pick up my Alan Dean headshot/cd that I got taken at a fundraiser a few weeks back.
Seriously, many thanks, messr.Dean…you’re a magician. But back to the show…we went on in to the Nathalie Stern Studio, aka the place I’ve been learning to have some fun for the last ten weeks, although I imagined we were in for better entertainment than my Enchainement on this nite. I was correct. The play, for those not familiar with this bit of bard, concerns a young lass named Viola, shipwrecked in the land of Illyria and separated from her beloved brother, whom she believes drowned. For reasons I’ve never managed to fully grasp, she disguises herself as a boy and sets up working for a swell local lord, Orsino. Things get kinda weird from there.
Since I’ve already wasted a lot of space in this post, I’ll get right to it….this OTS production of 12th Night is a fucking laugh riot. Massingham uses the intimate studio space masterfully, staging everything from the shipwreck to a gut-bustingly hilarious hilltop duel between Viola and the delusional Andrew Aguecheek (Pierre Brault, apparently having the time of his life) with easy flourish, and Doreen Taylor-Claxton’s music was a hit throughout. And the acting is rock solid. Viola/Caesario her/himself is played with honesty and flair by Kyla Gray, one of the several impressive newcomers shining in this piece. Greg Shand’s gleefully manipulative Toby, Katilin Miller doing double duty as scheming Maria and trusting Antonio (with a cartwheel or two in between), Jodi Morden convincing as Viola’s stern missing brother Sebastian, Henry Austin Shikongo cutting a dashing and smooth Orsino, and golden-voiced Diego Arvelo as Feste the Fool, and also likely the wisest character in the play. As a new-newcomer to the acting game, it was more than a little inspiring to see these cats doing it up, with such success, and especially in such a beauty of a production.
And the non-students (like Brault, already mentioned) are likewise a delight. Brad Long (Midsummer’s Night Dream) hits a few different roles, and his hairstyle in this show has more range than most actors out there. Alix Sideris makes a particularly human and sexy Olivia, beautifully selling the underlying motivation of her character…that she really, REALLY wants to lay that Caesario guy. She and Kyla have some gorgeously funny moments together.
Which leaves us with Malvolio. Malvolio, a juicy part even by Shakespearean standards, is played here by Greg Kramer (some of you may have been lucky enough to have seen him in THE HAUNTED HILLBILLY as Nudie this past summer…I was!), who…oh, lets just say it…he fucking steals the show. He’s talented ENOUGH, I can attest to that, but…but that SMILE…and the tights, and…oh, Christ. I’m starting to laugh again just picturing him. Go see it. Get your ticket. Why are you still READING this?? GO!!
(and, when I say ‘Go’? I’m especially talking to my fellow OSSD classmates…guys, go and see this show, I’m serious. I recognized more than one of the bits Barry has been teaching us, or telling us about, in the show. You’ll love it, trust me.)
One standing ovation later (richly deserved), there was a bit of an opening nite afterparty in studio D ( where I’ve also had class…such an insider!). Some tasty nosh from Fratelli’s was on hand, beer from Beau’s, and a chatback with the cast, who were a delight. My mingling skills are legendarily poor at this point, so aside from a moment of bravery where I geeked out to Greg Kramer, I was silent. But it was such a great night I don’t care. Made it out of there just in time to catch my last bus home, and now I’ve just about managed to finish this writeup before 2 AM…and I only have to be at work by 8! It’s like another day off…
…oh, shit, I have to get to sleep. Guys, great, GREAT job. Loved it, would love to see it again. Folks, do the right thing, get thee to the OSSD, and tell’em the Visitor sent ya. Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)